Friday, April 06, 2007

Brit Sailors and Armchair Heroes [Update]

You gotta a have a whole factory of blind spots and hubris to sit in a safe spot on the sidelines and call people in far away places, in circumstances the details of which are murky at best, "cowards." But blind spots and hubris is what these folks are about, and they scream "coward" on a regular basis (h/t). This time it's the Brit sailors who were taken captive by the Iranians. Read that Digby post. Truly ugly stuff.

As I said here, in the story about a U.S. Navy admiral publicly questioning the actions of the captured sailors (which is a mind-bogglingly wrongheaded thing to do), these people are talking out their asses. We know next to nothing about the details of the capture, and what reports we do have show a dire situation. They could have displayed tremendous courage as events unfolded. Being captured - or being killed - does not mean somebody wasn't courageous. Ask a wounded vet. Or the family and friends of one who didn't make it.

But to cretins like these, that doesn't fit into the broader context of what they're doing: they've confused supporting this war (and advocating for more war) with heroics, and being against it with cowardice. Imagine how twisted the scenery inside those heads must be when they can even extend that to people in the military right now. Like those sailors.

Again, they know next to nothing about the details of the capture. And what we do know makes it look like they were in an untenable situation:

U.S. and British officials said the incident occurred during a routine inspection of a merchant ship near the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway, which flows between the two countries and empties into the Gulf. The inspections were part of an ongoing operation to intercept smugglers, insurgents and terrorists, and to protect Iraqi oil terminals, CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reports.

The inspection went without a hitch and the British inflatable rafts that the service members use were on the way back to their mother ship when six Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval vessels surrounded them, Pizzey reports.

Inflatable rafts. Six naval vessels. (More on what's called an "ambush.")

I'm extremely happy that it didn't turn into a firefight. How ugly could that have been? Maybe those sailors had a thought about that somewhere along the lines too, and made the brave choice.

UPDATE: Obviously they knew knew exactly that:

"It was clear they arrived with a planned intent," said Air. "Had we resisted there would have been a mighty fight that we could not have won and with consequences that would have major strategic impacts."

Bravo. That. Takes. Guts...and Brains.

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